Wheelchair seating and mobility is a technical and specialized area of rehabilitation medicine.
The unique characteristics of the individual and the current technology must be taken into account in order to choose the best type of mobility assistive equipment (MAE). Successful delivery of a wheelchair and seating system begins with making the determination that the patient has a mobility impairment that requires the use of MAE. A complete understanding of the individual’s health condition and associated impairments will direct the provider in assessing optimal positioning and mobility for the patient.
The needs of the patient, as well as those of the caregiver, are paramount.
Goals of the seating system include postural support, stability, and pressure distribution. Goals of the mobility system include providing optimal mobility and function.
Equipment and seating are classified as follows:
Consumer-level equipment – Designed for the person who requires little postural support and may be using seating and wheeled mobility only in the short-term
Complex rehabilitation technology – Equipment designed for long-term users that provides customized seating options to meet an individual’s needs, as well as wheelchair bases with more features and greater adjustability